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The Widower's Wife: Fact #11

Double Indemnity can be twice the trouble.

Made famous by a film noir classic, double indemnity is a provision in a life insurance contract that doubles the payout to beneficiaries in the event of the policy holder's accidental death. The clause is not standard. Often, double indemnity is provided for in an "accidental death benefit rider" appended to the initial life insurance contract.

It's understandable why someone would want their dependents to get more money in the event of sudden death. Lengthy illnesses allow people time to get financial affairs in order and plan for the security of their children or surviving spouse. A lightening strike tragedy does not.

The common problem with double indemnity is that the insurer demands a preponderance of evidence proving that the death was a covered accident. An the investigation takes time and there are many things that void the payout.

Common exclusions for additional accidental death benefits are:

* Self-inflicted injury committed while sane or insane

* Participation in a riot or any other act of war or insurrection

* Death that occurs under the influence of any narcotic, barbituate or sedative

* A blood alcohol level of .08% (drunk accidents, in a vehicle or otherwise, don't count)

* Drinking while taking any other drug (prescribed or otherwise)

* Military activities

* Accident occurs in an attempt to commit a felony or engage in illegal activity

* Sickness

* Mental disease

* Surgery

Source: Investopedia, TransAmericaDirect

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